Pretty is as pretty does. And the last time the Pretty Things burlesque show came to Nocturnal, it was to bump and to grind and to perform amazing feats of skill and courage to electrify a crowd searching in nightlife’s neon glow for a little something special that they can’t get at home. The troupe’s return trip to Madison Avenue on Saturday, July 25th, is even more educational. The Pretty Things are coming to town to share their knowledge of vintage hair and makeup techniques in its “How To Be a Pin-Up Girl” class.
Although sexually suggestive art is very nearly as old as art itself, the pin-up is an atomic-age phenomenon popularized by World War II soldiers who clipped photos of Rita Hayworth and Betty Grable from movie magazines and fighter pilots who painted glamour girls on their planes. Almost 70 years later, hit movies and beautiful women are still known as blockbusters and bombshells. As pin-up art evolved in the 1950s, it borrowed naughty imagery from burlesque shows, and, in turn, contemporary burlesque shows take their visual cues from the pin-up artwork of Alberto Vargas and the photographic legacy of pin-up queen Bettie Page.
The Pretty Things describe their class as a “body positive experience,” teaching that “glamour has no age, height, or weight requirement.” How to Be a Pin-Up Girl costs $200, with a $25 deposit. It includes a pin-up girl makeover and photo shoot. After class, the Pretty Things are hosting an open-to-the-public happy hour featuring swing and rockabilly music from 7 to 9 p.m. — Chris Davis